Over the last few months, we have taken on the issue of repair our terrible roads in South Carolina more than any other topic. Why? There is, quite frankly, nothing more important to our state's well-being than rebuilding our crumbled and dilapidated roadways, our pathways to commerce and our very livelihoods.
The roads bill the Senate sent to the House is a temporary fix for a long term issue in South Carolina.
It restructures the department of transportation and provides $400 million in funding to fix the state's deteriorating interstates, primary and secondary roads. The problem with that funding mechanism is that it isn't guaranteed to be there in the future.
House speaker Jay Lucas says the plan "kicks the can further down the road…"
The compromised amendment removed a gas tax increase and income tax cut, which were Gov. Nikki Haley's original per-requisites for her approval of any roads bill. She's now in support of the current Senate bill.
Without a long-term funding solution for the state's roads and bridges, the WIS editorial board fears the existing bill is simply a band-aid that doesn't provide the necessary support to do the job right – fixing road surfaces, bridges and dangerous traffic headaches like Malfunction Junction and the growing choke points near the state's ports.
The only way to do that, in our opinion, is to raise the gas tax in concert with restructuring the DOT.
South Carolina drivers may fear doing so would place a major financial burden on them and their families.
Let's do the math…
A car driven 20,000 miles that gets 18 miles per gallon would burn approximately 1,111 gallons per year. That breaks down to an extra $111 each year out of pocket. That's just over $9 a month or about 30 cents per day.
And up to 35 percent of the money raised through a gas tax would come from the pockets of out-of-state drivers. Why not tax them for their fair share?
In a state with the 42nd lowest tax burden in the country, an extra 9 bucks a month would go a long way to improve our quality of life.
After all, you never get something for nothing, right?
That's my take, what's yours?
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